What Is a Healthy Relationship?

What exactly do we mean by healthy relationships? Who in the relationship decides what is healthy and what is not?

Both of you.
Healthy relationships make both partners feel supported and connected but still independent.

COMMUNICATION and BOUNDARIES are the two major parts of a healthy relationship. Ultimately, the two people in the relationship decide what is healthy for them and what is not. If something doesn’t feel right, you should have the freedom to tell your partner.


Communication allows you to understand each other on a deep level, and it helps you work through conflicts. In a healthy relationship with good communication, both partners:

  • Treat each other with respect
  • Speak openly to one another about thoughts and feelings
  • Feel heard when expressing feelings
  • Listen to each other and compromise
  • Do not criticize each other
  • Feel supported to do the things they like to do
  • Celebrate each other’s accomplishments and successes


Each person should express what they are and are not comfortable with. Decide where the line is with sex life, finances, family and friends, personal space, and time. In a healthy relationship with boundaries, both partners:
  • Allow each other to spend time with friends and family
  • Do not abuse technology to check on a partner
  • Trust each other and don't need their partner to “check in”
  • Do not pressure the other to do things that they don’t want to do
  • Do not accuse the other of cheating or being unfaithful

What Is Consent?

Consent allows both partners to express what they do want to experience.
Take a moment for both partners to openly express to each other what they’re looking for. The saying “yes means yes” is empowering and useful in thinking about what consent is.
Consent is ongoing.
Both partners should keep giving and looking for consent. Just because you’ve given consent to an act before, doesn’t mean it is a “given” every time. This also applies to new relationships — just because you’ve given consent to something in a different relationship doesn’t make it “automatic” in a new relationship. (EX: you had sex with a previous partner, so your new partner assumes you will have sex with him/her.)
Consent is not a free pass.
Saying yes to one thing doesn’t mean you have to agree to all other things. Each requires its own consent. (EX: Saying yes to oral sex doesn’t mean you’re saying yes to intercourse.)
Your relationship status does not make consent automatic.
If you’re married to someone, friends, or dating, it doesn’t mean they ‘own’ your consent or that you own theirs. Consent can be taken back at any time. If you’re in the midst of something and feeling uncomfortable, you always have the right to stop.
There’s no such thing as implied consent. ("She/He was asking for it...")
The absence of a “no” does not equal a “yes.” What someone chooses to wear doesn’t mean they are inviting sexual attention or consenting. The same is true for flirting, talking, showing interest or any other actions. You cannot assume someone wants any kind of sexual interaction without their verbal consent.
It’s not consent if you’re afraid to say no.
It’s not consent if you’re being manipulated, pressured, or threatened to say yes. It’s also not consent if you are unable to give valid consent. People who are asleep, unconscious, under the influence of drugs/alcohol, or not able to understand what's going on cannot consent.
Nonconsent means STOP.
If anyone involved isn’t consenting, then what is happening is or could be rape, sexual assault or abuse.